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St Levan, Cornwall

Historical Description

Levan, St, a parish in Cornwall, on the coast, 3 miles SE by E of Land's End, and 8 SW of Penzance station on the G.W.R. Post town and money order office, Treen (R.S.O.); telegraph office, Porthcurnow. Acreage, 2406; population, 629. The coast is bold and granitic, and presents fissured, shattered, columnar-looking cliffs, which have a rude resemblance to pinnacles or spires. Tol-Pedn-Pen-with, or " the holed headland of Penwith," is a promontory at the SW extremity of Mount's Bay, and takes its name from a deep well-like chasm called the Funnel Rock, through which the sea during a storm dashes with terrific noise. A famous logan or rocking-stone crowns one of three rocks, called Castle Treryn or Trereen Dynas Camp, overhanging the sea; is so delicately poised as to be easily rocked to and fro by a single person, has a computed weight of not less than ninety tons, was long believed to be irremovable by any number of men with any ordinary mechanical appliances; was, nevertheless, dislodged in a frolic, in 1824, by a party of seamen, and caught in its descent by a narrow chasm, and was afterwards by the same party hoisted up and replaced with the aid of capstans and chains. An entrenchment of earth and stones, forming a triple line of defence, isolates the headland, and occasions the name castle or camp, and the outer vallum of it is about 15 feet high. There are offices and houses belonging to the Eastern Telegraph Company, and they have three cables (to Gibraltar, Lisbon, and Vigo) landed on the beach; the post office has also one to the Scilly Isles. A copper mine was worked to the depth of 260 yards, and employed 460 hands. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Truro; net value, £159. Patron, the Duke of Cornwall. The church stands on a lonely spot, beside two cottages, is a stone edifice with a tower, and contains a monument with Latin inscription to Miss Dennis, the author of "Sophia de St Clare," and a native; the building was thoroughly restored in 1876. The churchyard has lych-stones at the entrances, and contains a fine old cross. The ruin of an ancient baptistery is on the bank of a rivulet, at what is called the Well of St Levan; and this, together with the parish, takes name from an ancient anchorite who was canonized after his death. There are Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels. This place gives the title of Baron to the St Aubyn family.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyCornwall 
Poor Law unionPenzance 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for St Levan from the following:


Online maps of St Levan are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Cornwall papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

We have a copy of The Visitations of Cornwall, by Lieut.-Col. J.L. Vivian online.

RegionSouth West
Postal districtTR19
Post TownPenzance